Mental health draws debate after student suicides
Two suicides in the span of a week involving student survivors of the Parkland school shooting have sparked a new question at the Florida Capitol: How much mental-health money should the state provide to schools?
The Senate has proposed setting aside $100 million for schools to offer mental-health services next year, $30 million more than what the House has recommended. House Appropriations Chairman Travis Cummings, a Republican from Fleming Island, said Wednesday he does not foresee any changes to that amount of money soon.
“I think one or two deaths or suicides is one too many, but we are throwing a lot of resources (into mental health),” Cummings told The News Service of Florida.
The services are tied to parts of wide-ranging school safety bills that advanced this week in the House and Senate. But debate about mental-health proposals has largely been overshadowed by controversial provisions that would allow school districts to train and arm teachers.
Mental-health funding came back to the spotlight this week after two reported suicides, including the death of Sydney Aiello, a student who graduated last year from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Her mother told a South Florida television station that Aiello had